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Changelings and shifters

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Changelings and shifters

PostAuthor: Gumble Tinkertumble » Thu Feb 09, 2012 12:26 pm

When a changeling changes form, the vocal cords change too. I know the disguise rules for humanoid forms, but was wondering how this is affected when a changeling also has alternate forms like those granted by druid wild shape and the shifter Prc.

Does the changeling's base form affect polymorph and other powers, or is the changeling easily recognisable? In other words, a changeling could look like a human, or even a house cat, but would it's bear form from wildshape look the same in both cases?
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Re: Changelings and shifters

PostAuthor: Micah » Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:39 pm

Changelings are... something that need to be dealt with very tenderly. They exist for players to have fun and enjoy the roleplay associated with them, but obviously brush up against a *lot* of engine limitations. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Limited models for any given creature type (all bears look the same in the engine, all deer look the same in the engine, you can only have 1 dynamic human form, etc.)
  • Inability for the engine to modulate the gear you have equipped based on the type of form you have, which causes an immense number of cheese related issues, such as when halflings equip longbows, or mice wield mercurial greatswords

In cases like this question above, it is impossible for the team to draw a firm line and make a ruling. Instead, what we have to do is give you some rules of thumb from which you can apply Rule 0. Do this well, and your changeling will rock. Do this poorly, and ... force us to draw lines in the sand anyway. Rule 0 exists so we don't have to do this, but we are always happy to give those guidelines. Here you go:

  • Adding a little bit of flavor by saying your creature forms have minor differences in appearances - OK! -
    • know, however, that shapeshifter players of all kinds typically have their animal forms be as unique as their main form.
    • Two bear forms, and you choose one to be scarred and old and another to be young and virile? Cool...
    • Have something in common that makes a familiar observer know they are the same
    • a common choice is that the eyes remain very similar even as the form changes.
  • Trying to use this flavor to claim your character cannot be identified because they were a different looking version of the same critter when they did something bad - NOT OK!
    • Why not? Well, its simply not enforceable.
    • When you use a normal disguise, you can emote *is disguised*, but players also see that you are disguised and look odd relative to normal.
    • As a static form, however, its just a recipe for an exploit - you can claim you are a grey wolf vs a black wolf vs a wolf with a scar over its eye vs a wolf with no tail vs a pink wolf... and who can say otherwise? Instant protection vs identification.
    • If the changeling's player starts to push boundaries on this in any way, the team will not be answering questions about where the line should be drawn... they will be answering questions about why the player is trying to exploit this crappy limitation to their gain in the first place.
    • That's not a good place to end up as a player.

Know that in addition to changeling looks, though, the way your changeling acts is going to be critical in how they are percieved:
  • Changelings who run around acting like people in animal shapes, or act like children playing with toys, are going to be irrevocably identified as changelings.
  • Changelings who RP the hell out of being an animal are much less likely to be ID'd... but this requires actually acting like the animal - often including simply not being around people. Very challenging to do.

So in conclusion - be classy. No looking for (or trying to get rulings on) loopholes - just stay far away from them. Play your changeling conservatively.

Cheers!
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Re: Changelings and shifters

PostAuthor: Gumble Tinkertumble » Fri Feb 10, 2012 5:24 pm

Taking it a step further, would non changeling shifters (and I mean anyone with an alternate form, not just the Shifter Prc) be able to do similar things, if they RP the differences and don't cheese things, or would they be locked into one form?

I'd imagine weres would be locked into a single version of their alternate forms, because it is part of their genetic makeup (even if it is supernatural), but please clarify if I am making an incorrect assumption.
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Re: Changelings and shifters

PostAuthor: Grunt » Fri Feb 10, 2012 6:20 pm

Whatever form you are in as a were or changeling looks the same every time you choose it.
Otherwise, it gets ridiculous and people need some way to identify the bear that ran by.

Remember, this has to be fun for everyone.
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Re: Changelings and shifters

PostAuthor: Gumble Tinkertumble » Sat Feb 11, 2012 7:20 pm

Okay, as it's a little confusing...

A changeling using the changeling polymorh ability to pose as a raven, will always look the same when taking the shape of a raven. Same goes for weres and any other shifters that change shape. They always look the same.

The confusing bit is a changeling that is using Wildshape or Polymorph or some other ability that is NOT changeling polymorph. In that case, the changeling CAN have different versions of shapes. For instance...

The changeling is masquerading as a human and uses Wildshape to transform into a bear. The bear form is ragged and muscular.
The same changeling is masquerading as a pixie and uses Wildshape to transform into a bear. The bear form is powerful, but sleek and well groomed.

Without the above a changeling using Wildshape or anything other shapeshifting powr, would break it's own disguise.

Is that correct?
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Re: Changelings and shifters

PostAuthor: Micah » Sat Feb 11, 2012 9:33 pm

Hey Gumble,

It's probably safer at this point to just go with "no matter how I take a particular form (changeling combos with druid or shifter or polymorph or anything), that form always looks the same".

Just abandon the "flavor" angle. If we have to answer all these questions about it, then its not safe for you to use.

Cheers
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Re: Changelings and shifters

PostAuthor: TwiBel » Fri Feb 27, 2015 7:20 pm

Question quickly about changeling and shifter flying forms- obviously in game there's a limit to vertical ascent, but is it reasonable to assume that these forms are capable of, say, doing aerial reconnaissance via pm? Or, for example, surviving a high fall by shifting?
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Re: Changelings and shifters

PostAuthor: RCon » Fri Feb 27, 2015 9:06 pm

Indeed they can.

Obviously, circumstances might prevent such things, depending on the DM's ruling. For example, in a massive windstorm, a DM might allow switching to a pixie form, but such an act may well cause bigger problems.
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